The Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) has offered their skills to help South Africans involved in past and present conflicts, including xenophobic violence, to heal. PsySSA understands the need to look at the causes of current xenophobic violence and to find a lasting solution. All those involved, including the community, government and victims, should be at the centre of any effort to find a solution to the conflict.
“We need to heal from the wounds of the past and look at the causes of the current xenophobic violence and find lasting solutions with communities involved,” said Prof Saths Cooper, former president of PsySSA. “What has been happening the last fortnight has been the lowest point in SA’s democracy. Every sector is affected, but there does not seem to be a leadership to show that everything is under control, both from the politicians and the police.”
In the latest attacks on Sunday, two people were killed in Johannesburg despite efforts by some leaders – including former IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi – to calm down their followers. Instead of backing down, the followers heckled the leader.
Prof Cooper condemned the law enforcement agencies – particularly crime intelligence – for failing to detect the xenophobic violence. “We have no effective crime intelligence that we can rely on. How do you have these gatherings where the violence was planned yet intelligence and law and order in general did not hear anything?… We need to look at the causes, otherwise we are denying the realities that are at play. We cannot solve the problem without looking deeper at the causes. As PsySSA, will are willing to help this nation to heal.”
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